flunixin sales suspended in UK

The United Kingdom’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) announced July 26 that it has suspended the sale of a number of drugs in that country, including the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug flunixin, which is commonly used in horses.

“The VMD has suspended products for food-producing animals that contain the excipient diethanolamine (DEA),” the agency said in a statement on its website. “The VMD has done this in the light of the scientific opinion of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (the scientific advisory committee to the European Medicines Agency) that there may be a risk to humans from consuming food from animals treated with products containing DEA.”

A full list of suspended products is included below.

Not all groups support the VMD’s decision, however.

In a statement the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) said “flunixin is used throughout the equine veterinary profession because of its highly potent analgesic effects. It is the only medicine licensed for the treatment of sepsis (endotoxaemia)” in that country.

“The VMD’s decision reflects European Medicines Agency guidance relating to the human safety of the solvent used in the injectable formulation, not the active ingredient,” the statement continued. “To date, no recall notices have been issued and therefore veterinary surgeons may continue to prescribe medicines held in stock, although disruption to the supply chain will result in shortages of this medicine in clinical practice.”

Jonathan Pycock, BVetMed, PhD, DESM, MRCVS, added, “BEVA is fully supportive of all attempts to promote food safety, however flunixin is widely viewed as the gold-standard pain killer in horses and is commonly used in horses undergoing both elective and emergency surgery, for the crippling pain associated with laminitis and for severe forms of colic.

“BEVA is calling on the VMD to immediately enable limited batch release of flunixin for use in horses not destined for the human food chain in the interests of animal welfare,” he said. “The equine veterinary profession has always been open to consultation with the VMD on a range of important matters relating to responsible medicine use, antibiotic resistance, horse identification, passports and the horse meat issue. BEVA is perplexed as to why the VMD failed to consult with the equine veterinary industry on the animal welfare impact of withdrawing such an important drug.”


Suspended Products

Product Vm Number Manufacturer
Allevinix 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection for Cattle, Pigs and Horses 15052/4144 Ceva Animal Health Ltd
Cronyxin Injection, 5% w/v Solution for Injection 12597/4014 Cross Vetpharm Group Ltd
Dugnixon 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection for Cattle, Pigs and Horses 36167/4005 Global Vet Health S.L.
Finadyne 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection 01708/4582 Intervet UK Ltd
Flunixin 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection for Cattle, Horses and Pigs 02000/4170 Norbrook Laboratories Limited
Meflosyl 5% Solution for Injection 42058/4085 Zoetis UK Limited
Norixin 5% Solution for Injection 02000/4137 Norbrook Laboratories Limited
Pyroflam 50 mg/ml Solution for Injection for Cattle, Horses and Pigs 02000/4253 Norbrook Laboratories Limited
Tribrissen 48% Suspension for Injection 01708/4593 Intervet UK Ltd